Audi to sell cars that talk to traffic lights

Select models sold in US will show countdown to signals turning green and warn when its too late to beat a red

The German carmaker Audi is rolling out technology that will allow its vehicles to communicate with traffic lights.

Audi of America, which is owned by Volkswagen, said select 2017 Q7 and A4 models built after 1 June 2016 would be equipped with the system.

Audis version of technology known in the industry as V-to-I, or vehicle to infrastructure, displays a countdown before a red light turns to green, with a countdown also appearing when it is too late to get through an approaching signal before it turns red.

This is our foray into V-to-I, said Pom Malhotra, general manager of Audis connected vehicles division. This is designed not as a safety feature but a comfort and convenience feature.

The display would disappear a few seconds before the light turned green so the driver could pay attention to the intersection, said Malhotra.

Future versions could be it linked to a cars navigation system or its stop/start functions, or traffic signals could advise a vehicle to keep to a certain speed in order to match the flow of lights, executives said.

Audi said it planned to roll out the capability in five to seven US cities in 2016, with cities to be switched on one by one. The company would not disclose which cities would be first.

Carmakers are trying to bring in the technology alongside vehicle-to-vehicle communications (V-to-V) allowing cars to talk to each other to reduce accidents and relieve traffic congestion, as manufacturers move towards greater automation on the road.

But the systems require secure communications infrastructure as well as cooperation with municipalities and transportation agencies.

With Reuters

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